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This is how many days I have left. (Image: Days of Life)

Can This App Predict Your Death?

When are you going to die? You probably don't know the answer to that question - but if you download this app you could find out. Sort of

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When are you going to die? You probably don't know the answer to that question—if you even want to—but if you download the Days of Life app you could find out. Sort of.

The app simply asks you a few questions about who you are, where you live and how many years you've already lived. And, as Mark O'Connell at the New Yorker reports, that's all it wants to know:

It won’t take any further particulars into consideration; it doesn’t care whether I’m a smoker, what my B.M.I. or my income is, whether anyone in my immediate family has died from cancer. No: I’m a thirty-four-year-old Irishman, and so I’ve got sixteen thousand two hundred and seventy-seven days left to live.

Once you give it these few pieces of information, the app uses statistics to give you a handy little count down of how many years you have left on this earth. Of course, this can't actually tell you when you're going to die. And not taking into account factors like personal habits or socioeconomic status makes it even less accurate. But that's not really the point, apparently. The Days of Life app maker explain:
Days of Life is a motivational app, developed with the purpose of inciting you to work harder, finish your projects or just enjoy life. It is also mean to be used by Life Extensionists and Immortalists for motivation to pursue and achieve their goals.

Many entrepreneurs have achieved success after recognizing that life is short and every minute counts. Use this app every day for motivation and to set short and long term goals.


And for some people, like O'Connell, that kind of works:
I waste a lot of time agonizing over the amount of time I waste; I am preoccupied to the point of obsession with my various failures to achieve self-optimization, with the idea that I have too little time, and I am producing too little with it.  (One of the ironies of being a writer—or working in any kind of creative area, I suppose—is the tendency to conceive of yourself in oddly dehumanizing ways: as “productive” or “unproductive,” as laboring toward some kind of Stakhanovite ideal of efficiency and yield.) At a rate of about once per second, my word processor’s cursor blinks at the end of the last word typed. If I look at it for long enough, I begin to imagine it ticking (“Write! … Write! … Write!”) as it counts down the remaining time—before a deadline, before I have to leave my desk to pick up my son from child care. Before I’m dead.

Then again, if it takes a counter on your life to get you working, you might need to switch jobs. Or you might be a writer. Either way, there's an app for that.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Deaths From Drug Overdoses Are Soaring
Death from the Skies!

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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